I used to be very depressed, and very anxious. There was a voice in my head constantly berating me and degrading me, telling me I wasn’t enough and I shouldn’t even try. I projected that negativity onto everyone around me, but mostly I projected it onto myself. But that voice did something else too; it created incredibly complex scenarios in my head that fueled my creativity. After all, good art is complex, and often darkest before it begins to grow light.
The things that I produced were dark, flawed, and filled with emotion. Being on antidepressants has done wonders for my mental health, but since I started taking them six months ago, I haven’t been able to write on any of my fictional stories. The nonfiction seems to flow just fine. It’s part of the reason this blog is doing so well. I am able to put together coherent thoughts in the nonfiction realm, but when it comes to creating in that paracosmatic world that I so often lived, I find that my well of creativity has run dry. There is no desire in me anymore to work on those stories, because to get to that negative headspace again would be miserable. Oh sure, I created some interesting pieces of writing, but to do so I had to depress myself so entirely that I felt on the verge of mental collapse. I would isolate myself for months at a time, especially during the winter where most of my writing happened. I would research dark topics to fuel my ever growing imagination. I would let myself spiral down and down in order to create what I created.
It seems to be a difficult tossup. Be mentally stable, healthy, and produce orthodox blog posts, or let myself sink back into that tortured psyche and create vastly interesting fictional worlds. Some of the best writers in history were known to have suffered from excruciating mental problems. Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath. In one way or another, through drugs or simply lack of mental stability, these authors produced some of the most tortured works of fiction. After all, how can someone create such dark literature if they live in a world of light?
In some ways I feel like that darkness was a piece of who I was, and I owned it completely. By medicating myself to become more mentally and emotionally stable, I don’t quite feel like myself. Oh sure, I feel happy. Actually, I don’t really feel anything at all. The pills I take are quite enough to deaden all of my emotions, which has definitely helped me in the real world and dealing with my anxiety. But I don’t feel like myself. Because depression is something I identified myself with for so long that it became a part of who I was. Now without it, I look back at the life I lived and wonder if that was the truer life, the truer way to live, the reality which I was born into this world to suffer through. Am I learning the lessons I need to learn by dulling my emotions? Am I fulfilling my life purpose this way? What if my life purpose was to create beautifully dark fiction and then leave this world? Surely Edgar Allan Poe’s life purpose was not to become a successful accountant. No. His life purpose was to create great works of dark fiction. That was his gift that he was born into this world possessing.
Are we, in effect, disrupting the natural flow of destiny by making ourselves comfortably numb? Is it better to take the red pill and escape the matrix of our minds? To live with the pain and discomfort of mental instability in order to grow as humans and use our greatest gifts we as creators possess; our creativity and our imaginations?